WHEREAS, human activities have warmed the Earth to a point that threatens climate stability, and climate change has already set in motion catastrophic changes to the Earth’s systems, including fresh water scarcity and droughts, floods, extreme weather events and increased heat, wildfires, accelerating ice mass loss that will result in sea-level rise, and species extinction; and

WHEREAS, critical tipping points must be avoided, as they will have cascading feedback effects that are predicted to cause an increasingly uncontrollable climate emergency that includes a devastating burden to the global economy, and with current greenhouse gas (GHG) emission levels these tipping points could be passed as soon as 2050; and

WHEREAS, on September 10, 2018, the State of California’s Governor Brown issued an executive order establishing a 2045 statewide target to achieve carbon neutrality, and on the same day, Senate Bill 100 was passed, which sets a 100% clean electricity goal for the state by 2045; and

WHEREAS, in 2018, the 4th Annual National Climate Assessment and California’s 4th Climate Change Assessment warned that extreme weather and climate-related events in the United States are worsening, predicting increased drought cycles and heat waves in the western U.S. with a resulting three-fold increase in intensity and magnitude of wildfires, declined water supply and snow pack, increased flooding, impacted agriculture, as well as substantial damages to the U.S. economy and human health, unless GHG emissions are curbed; and

WHEREAS, since 2017, over 21,000 scientists from 184 countries have signed a “Second Warning to Humanity” calling for a drastic change in how ecological resources are managed; and

WHEREAS, in 2015, global leaders from 195 nations signed the Paris Climate Agreement at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to address these threats by limiting destabilizing activities; however, a failure to implement these plans has resulted in an increase in global temperature that at the current rate will exceed the goal set by the Paris Climate Agreement by 2030, according to the 2018 Special Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); and

WHEREAS, low-income communities, communities of color, the young, the disabled, the elderly and indigenous communities have suffered the gravest consequences of climate change, and remediation of these impacts requires the active consultation and protection of vulnerable and historically exploited populations; and

WHEREAS, common sense and morality indicate that humanity can no longer safely emit GHGs and must demand an emergency mobilization effort to rapidly reach zero emissions across all sectors to safely remove excess carbon from the atmosphere; to preserve and restore the Earth’s biodiversity; to implement safety measures to protect all people and species from the consequences of abrupt warming in the near term; and to cultivate a shift toward climate resiliency that prioritizes conservation, community, and independence from fossil fuels; and

WHEREAS, the Climate Mobilization Movement is a global network of people in North America, Europe and Australia dedicated to engaging the public and government agencies to prevent climate and ecological catastrophe by asking for a response to climate change and ecological destruction as an emergency; and

WHEREAS, the City of Davis has demonstrated leadership in climate change advocacy, including a July 11, 2017 Resolution Reaffirming its Commitment to Taking Action to Reduce Climate Pollution Consistent with the Davis Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) and in Alignment with the Paris Climate Agreement; an April 18, 2006 Resolution Endorsing the US Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement; and a September 29, 1999 Resolution to Participate in the Cities for Climate Protection Campaign; and

WHEREAS, the City of Davis, on November 18, 2008, adopted local GHG emission reduction targets with a goal of being a net carbon neutral community by 2050, substantively ahead of state and federal targets at the time, and in 2010, adopted the Davis CAAP to reduce GHG emissions; create green jobs; and prepare for the impacts of climate change on public health, infrastructure, the economy, ecosystems, and public spaces in our community; and

WHEREAS, the City of Davis has taken a number of important actions to reduce GHG emissions and enhance quality of life in our community, including long-term commitments to alternative transportation options; advanced energy efficiency building standards; sustainable land use planning; ‘green’ management of public facilities, parks and open spaces; partnerships with Cool Davis and other community-based organizations for outreach and engagement; proactive collaboration with regional
partners for groundwater, surface water and other resources; and establishing Valley Clean Energy (VCE), a regional community choice energy provider offering cost competitive, local renewable choices for electricity provision; and

WHEREAS, it is the firm belief of the City Council that Davis and the surrounding communities have the insight, drive, capacity and capital to work for environmental justice, and fully understand that when we work together across social and city borders, we can build transformative networks to combat climate change in our region.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of City of Davis that we face an existential Climate Emergency that threatens our city, region, state, nation, civilization, humanity and the natural world; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City of Davis commits to taking significant action to move toward net municipal and community carbon neutrality in the short term, with maximum efforts to implement carbon reduction actions by 2030; and accelerate the existing 2050 Davis carbon neutrality goal to a 2040 target; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City of Davis and City Council will engage with the Natural Resources Commission and other commissions; community-based partner organizations including Cool Davis and Valley Climate Action Center; Sacramento Area Council of Governments, Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative and other regional agencies; and leverage the resources of the University of California, Davis to accelerate a robust update to the Davis CAAP and integration with the City’s updated General Plan; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City of Davis will pursue efforts via the local community choice aggregator, Valley Clean Energy, to supply clean electricity that is 100% renewable and increasingly locally sourced for municipal, residential, commercial and business, and other non-residential uses; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City of Davis affirms the need for the understanding, participation and support of the entire Davis community for all actions and initiatives the City may adopt in response to the climate emergency; the City therefore commits to providing outreach, information and education for Davis residents and City staff on the urgency of climate responses, reduction of GHG emissions, the policies and strategies to advance sustainability and resilience; and to regularly assess its GHG reduction goals, actions and policies and provide progress reports and metrics annually; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City of Davis will explore city administrative review and assessment processes to incorporate consideration of GHG reduction impacts/effects for all significant proposed policies, programs or actions approved by City Council; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City of Davis recognizes community environmental justice and commits to keeping the considerations of disadvantaged communities central to the climate emergency mobilization planning processes, and to invite and encourage these communities to directly advocate for their specific needs and equity in the environmental justice process; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The City of Davis will advocate for and join in a climate mobilization at the local, state, national, and global levels and support emergency mobilization efforts to mitigate climate change and;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The City of Davis will advocate for implementing aggressive state and federal policies to eliminate GHG emissions, such as in transportation—improving fuel efficiency of personal and commercial vehicles, encouraging active transportation (bicycling, walking and public transit) and moving toward completely electrified transportation systems; in the built environment—adopting energy efficiency standards for appliances and products, moving toward zero net energy
standards for new and retrofitted construction, requiring provision of 100% renewable clean energy, reducing heat pollution impacts and providing shade; and in consumption—addressing water management and conservation, sustainable food and agricultural issues, waste reduction, managing our forests, urban areas, natural and working lands to sequester carbon, and engaging in GHG reduction implementation policies related to other emerging standards and technologies.

PASSED AND ADOPTED by the City Council of the City of Davis on this 5th day of March, 2019

Read the full memo from the City Council Legislative Subcommittee to the City Council on the city website.

Read a supporting ASUCD Climate Emergency Resolution.pdf authored by Megan Phelps and other students in solidarity with cities and college campuses across the United States in declaring a climate emergency.